Bloodborne is an incredibly rich experience, with an atmosphere so thick you can almost feel the fog seeping from the sides of your TV.
Set in a fantasy-Victorian city gone mad, the plot quickly evolves from simple beast hunting to something far more eldritch. As with all the Souls family of games, the plot itself is delivered in tiny morsels, bits of information in the environment and tiny snatches of conversation. To be completely honest, even I had to resort to a Youtube video explaining the whole thing once I was finished.
Bloodborne is certainly Victorian inspired, but it has refreshingly little to do with the steampunk aesthetic that has come to be synonymous with such things. There’s actually much more of a Lovecraftian influence here, with some genuinely terrifying moments. Bloodborne isn’t a horror game, but it really does feel like one at times, without ever relying on cliché.
Combat lacks some of the subtlety of Dark Souls, but makes up for it in aggression. Every weapon is unique, and takes time to fully learn. The barrier here is not your character’s skill, but your own. There are no shields to hide behind, and playing ‘safely’ is generally discouraged. Bloodborne really does shove you in at the deep end, before dropping in a shark and putting a lid over the pool. Defeat is exhausting. Victory is exhilarating.
Hands down, this is one of the best games I’ve ever played. I’m hoping to get a chance to go back to Yharnam soon to complete the DLC. If I can, I may write more afterwards.